Remembering Robin Williams: the Talent, the Laughs, the Heartache

Remembering Robin Williams: the Talent, the Laughs, the Heartache

On August 11th 2014 the world lost a hero. Now try to not think of the word hero in the traditional sense of a war hero or firefighter, but rather a hero of our humanity. Robin McLaurin Williams (born July 21, 1951), could do no wrong inspiring the world regardless of age, sex, race, etc. So many go out into the world and try to “make it” in entertainment, few ever get the chance, and even less can walk away saying that they inspired everyone they came in contact with (directly and indirectly). Robin Williams left such a memorable impact on the youth, whether one’s first encounter was in his first erratic and unearthly roles playing the alien Mork on late 1970’s sitcom Mork and Mindy, or taking your child to be dazzled by films such as  Hook (1991) and Aladdin (1992); one cannot help but admit how he touched their life.

mork and mindy
French poster of “Mork and Mindy”

They say that true talent is being able to mold and change with your craft. Robin Williams was a pioneer in this sense. Sure he could have you laughing so hard it gave you a hernia (yes this is true when appearing on ‘Actors Studio’, a fan began laughing so hysterically they had to be taken to a local hospital for treatment of a hernia), but his true talent came in being able to play any role to utter perfection. He appeared as a villain (hard to imagine, kind of like being scarred of a cuddly teddy bear) in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit series as a deranged sexual deviant with a penchant for messing with the police. Williams opened our eyes and made us look into our own humanity with films such as What Dreams May Come (1998) and Jakob the Liar (1999).  He pretty much did it all, while engraving our memories with his laughter, over the top personality, and unforgettable smiles.

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

His passing leaves all with questions, and a sense of void. Hard to imagine a world without the likes of Robin William; however the legacy he has left behind is one that will, without question, pass along through the generations, serving to inspire more people to realize that even in their own darkest of moments, to find the strength and love to bring enlightenment and laughter to others. With that being said “oh captain, my captain” we bid you farewell and thank you for all you gave, we hope to meet again and may you find the peace you so well deserve.

Photo credit: Robin Williams Weapons of Self Destruction HBO Special
No matter one’s background Robin Williams’ ability to make people smile touched a broad range of people.  Below is a list of musicians’ and actors’ thoughts on Williams:

“My reinterpretation of the Walt Whitman poem which was used to honor his departure in the movie, Dead Poet’s Society (1989). Do you think it’s ok?

“O Captain! Our Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;

Here captain! Dear Robin!Our arms seek to cradle your head;

O dread, ’tis some dream you’ve fallen,Ye shall be remember’d well.”

Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;

Here captain! Dear Robin!

Our arms seek to cradle your head;

O dread, ’tis some dream you’ve fallen,

Ye shall be remember’d well.”

-Dietrick Hardwick,  Mindcage guitarist

“Thank you, Robin, for giving so much of yourself to everyone for so many years. You always went way above and beyond the extra mile when it came to your creativeness and intensity for the stage. My thoughts go out to your family right now during these tough times.”

-Hank 3

“Robin Williams was one of my heroes. He was a genius and such a wonderful spirit. I will always remember the spectacular moments he brought to this world and the integrity with which he carried himself as a person. Missing those movie moments will be difficult but my heart feels for his family. I hope they find comfort in knowing what a joy he was in sharing his talents with everyone. RIP to one of the greats. Missed everyday.”

-Felissa Rose, actress/Sleepaway Camp 

“Robin Williams’ movies and humor were a huge part of my childhood. Whether it is a great movie like Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Hook, and Flubber (1997), or his amazing stand-up specials and TV appearances, he was always a positive and fun person to look up to. He and his talent will be greatly missed.”

-Ryan Neff, Miss May I bassist/vocalist

“Robin Williams always made me laugh. A very sad ending for such a funny person. Mrs. Doubtfire was my favorite of his movies.”

– Richie Cavalera, Incite vocalist

“My heart is saddened. Robin Williams is not just a funny guy, great actor, whatever. He has been there my whole life. Mork started on Happy Days. in 1978! Hell, Bon Scott utters “Shazbot, Na-Nu Na-Nu” at the end of the album Highway to Hell (1979). I thought that was the coolest thing ever back then. Robin’s stand-up routines solidified him as a star. His improv, just wandering off and being funny. I loved him. Even in more serious roles, like The World According to Garp (1982), he had a unique way of making us all smile. His talents will be missed.  His smile will be missed. His quirkiness will be missed.  The world is a little bit sadder today.”

-Louis Prima Jr., Louis Prima Jr. and the Witness

“Thanks for the laughs Robin Williams. My childhood was a bit brighter and sillier because of you. Hope you find peace somewhere out there.”

-Kelly Ogden, The Dollrots vocalist/bassist

“Watching Robin Williams play Mork on Mork and Mindy brought me great joy as a young kid in the late ’70s and early ’80s, but it was in watching him years later in Good Morning Vietnam (1987) that I realized what an amazing gift he truly had. His incredibly manic and hysterical riffing on the radio throughout the movie made me fall in love with the idea of being a radio host.”

-Carl Kozlowski, Comic and Co-founder of

“Robin Williams was one of our favorite actors. He brought so much joy to many and surely had so much more to give. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest!”

– Message To Venus

“The untimely death of Robin Williams is extremely sad, and also, a wake-up call to bring major awareness to the subject of ‘depression’.  I first saw Robin Williams on Happy Days–which was one of my favorite childhood TV shows, then I really became a fan of his on Mork & Mindy–another childhood favorite of mine.  After TV, I followed William’s movie career as my mom brought me to see The World According to Garp when it first appeared in theaters in 1982.  Williams made me laugh many times…And also made me tear up as well. His body of work is absolutely epic, impressive, and timeless. Some of my personal Robin Williams movies include: The World According to Garp,  Moscow On the Hudson (1984), Cadillac Man (1990),  Awakenings (1990), Good Will Hunting (1997), and the creepy, One Hour Photo (2002).  All of these movies (and many more), and his stand-up specials, showed what talent and range he had. Williams starred in 80 films and 26 television series, and won an Academy Award among other accolades.  63 is too young for anyone to go. Robin Williams touched many lives in profound ways–including mine–and he will be sorely missed, but forever revered. Thanks for the laughs and the tears, Robin.”

– Jeremy Wagner, Broken Hope guitarist

“I feel for him and those around him.  I have to admit I never liked his humor, but I know he was a great person and helped so many people.  I feel sad for the loss of someone so great.”

-Linnea Quigley, actress/ 80’s horror film scream queen

“Robin Williams was one of the original icons of stand-up comedy and kept the world laughing for decades, but his acting was also genius. There will never be anyone else like him.”

-Jackson Benge, (Hed) P.E. guitarist

“Robin Williams was a legend of comedy. Before I was even born he was making the world laugh and he just got more talented with age. One of the bests that will ever do it! “

– Levi Benton, Miss May I vocalist

“Robin Williams to me was an innovator of comedy. I remember watching Mork and Mindy re-runs as a kid when I would come home from school. He was like a combination of a comedian and a human cartoon. He was also so diverse that he could play a role like he did in One Hour Photo and shine as well. What a shame to lose such a legend too soon.”

-Tim King, SOiL bassist

“I grew up with Robin Williams on my TV and movie screens. He was the voice of Aladdin’s Genie, I saw that movie like 400 times as a kid. It is tragic that someone who brought so many people joy, would be so sad in his personal life. My hearts aches for his friends and family.”

-Joey Walser, Devour The Day bassist

“A sad day for us all to lose such an Icon. Although some 25 years ago, I had the honor of performing improv with Robin and spending some quality time with him on and off stage, I didn’t really know the real him. Did anyone besides those who were truly close to him? I will say this tho’…he was an incredibly generous man, with his time and talents. Not really knowing me very well, he included me on a trip to San Francisco ( I understand he always considered “his town”) with some mutual friends. You see it was my birthday that weekend and he wanted to include me. I got to see a glimpse of who he was. We were treated to being shown San Fran thru his eyes, ending in a benefit performance he did for Neil Young. Also on the bill that night were Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen w/ Niles Lofgren.  It was an acoustic concert! Brilliant! The weekend was one I’ll never forget, but it is his gift of Laughter and Humanity that I will remember most! I will remember him fondly and send my good thoughts and feelings to his family and friends!”

-John Kassir, actor/ voice artist/ Tales From The Crypt

“Robin Williams had that rare quality of being a relatable actor and comedian. I always felt like many of his characters were friends I would have like to have. Dead Poet’s Society was a film that deeply impacted me at a young age. I remember going home and renting it, watching it over and over. Such a beautiful film. Of course, Mrs. Doubtfire is a character I will remember for years to come. Robin Williams brought so much joy to people’s lives with his talent. He will be deeply missed.”

– Kristen May Flyleaf vocalist

“As a teen, my friends and I spent an entire summer watching his San Francisco stand-up show, the video tape was demagnetized at summers end, and we collectively had deep visceral giggles while learning life affirming lessons. Thank you Robin Williams.”

– Gabriel Rowland, Dreaming Bull vocalist/guitarist

“Robin Williams was a genius who could make you laugh or cry and will be missed!”

Evan Seinfield, Biohazard & Attika7 vocalist

“Robin Williams was such a legendary comedic figure to our generation, but his work was more than just laughs. I remember when Mrs. Doubtfire came out, it just so happened that I was 7 years old and in the midst of being taken to another state by my Mother and step Dad while the rest of my family was staying in California. The movie hit so close to home that I almost never looked at it as a comedy, because it related to my life so much in a way that wasn’t even funny. I think in some ways it helped me understand what my Dad was going through at the time, and deal with some of the emotions everyone around me was feeling. It is too bad that so many of the great comedians meet such a harsh fate and deal with such inner turmoil, but hopefully he is at peace somewhere.”

-Sean Danielsen, Smile Empty Soul vocalist/guitarist

“What happened to the world and to the life of Robin Williams was as tragic and shocking as just about anything I can think of in the pseudo stable world we live in. Though I respect ones freedom to leave this world as he so chooses, I fear that it might have been a choice that could have been altered, had help been administered to Robin’s mental illness. I unfortunately have experienced the loss of many friends at their own hands and it always leaves me with great sadness and many questions. Robin’s talents and gifts are undeniable. I remember him ever since I have been a child, bringing Mork & Mindy and his part in Hook among countless stories I hold close I my heart. I would encourage this tragedy to inspire more awareness of people’s state of mind around them. Maybe in death as we know it, Robin Williams left us one last thing . The inspiration to never let this happen again. The will to find cures for his illness and others’ who share it alone by themselves , and definitely the incredible joy and happiness one man brought to generations of people in the world. I truly lack the words to say how much I will miss his presence in the world. God bless his soul and family and God bless us all.”

-Hugo Ferreira, Tantric vocalist/ guitarist

“I grew up laughing to Mork from Ork.  That gift of laughter in my youth was priceless, I really resonated with his comedy as a child.”

-Jahred, (Hed) P.E. vocalist

“It is always shocking when someone this universally appreciated takes their own life. It is his dramatic roles that I will miss the most.”

– Bevan Davies, MonstrO drummer

“His death taught us that life is way too short for us to suffer in silence. Carpe Diem.”

-Adam Leader, In Search Of Sun vocalist

“My heart breaks for all those who die by suicide and today my heart’s breaking for Robin Williams…

My personal message:

– Struggling with suicide is nothing to be ashamed of.
– Suicide is preventable.
– Ask directly, “Are you thinking about suicide?”
– A cry for help is a cry for help whether you think they’ll really kill
themselves or not. It’s STILL a cry for help…Love you all”

-Joe Scorsone of Flintface


Feature photo credit ABC – Robin Williams from 1978 during Mork and Mindy

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Rafi Shlosman
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